Almost Famous

Almost Famous - Stillwater

In the wake of the untimely passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, we here at FSR were asked to think of our favorite Hoffman performance. I immediately thought of his portrayal of rock journalist Lester Bangs in Almost Famous which got me thinking about the band Stillwater which William (Patrick Fugit) ends up following on tour. Stillwater is a fictional band created for Almost Famous, but they feel like anything but fiction, instead coming across as a real band just starting to climb the charts, easily existing alongside The Who and Black Sabbath (the band they opened for in the film). So what was it about Stillwater that made them feel like a real life band and not one simply created to help drive the story?

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Lester Bangs

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Almost Famous

Last weekend I was up late and noticed a 16-year-old follower of my Facebook page (and aspiring filmmaker) had a shitty night. He lived a nightmare we all had inside of us during high school. He was a sacrificial lamb in a demented prank from kids who he never threatened and never wanted to see get hurt the way he was. Bullying is a popular subject these days. It’s one I went through for four years, and it was so bad that on my first day of college I lied to my first friends about my high school experience. I haven’t really let it out there until reading a 16 year old kid expose his wounds online. This was my message to him. I’m sharing this letter in case others might find it useful.

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Let’s get this out of the way now: I’m a Cameron Crowe fan. The director has his critics. Most of his divisiveness comes down to the tone of his films, which some find wrongfully cheesy. I, on the other hand, find Crowe’s humanism endearing, never silly or phony. Somehow, when everyone else has drunk the cynical Kool Aid and acts too cool for school towards anything with a big heart, the director remains optimistic about life and (ugh) people. Crowe, who aims high to plant a big smile on your face, does so here more than competently. The surface-level concept of We Bought a Zoo is fairly ridiculous-sounding: Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) buys and decides to rebuild a broken-down zoo. I’m not sure how We Bought a Zoo differs from Dave Blank’s true life story, and while watching the film and even while writing about it at this very moment, I don’t care. The most important part of Crowe’s adaptation is that, every emotion felt genuine. The “getting the zoo back in shape!” serves as a metaphor for Mee attempting to rebuild his once happy family – heavy shit, right?

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From Kate Hudson coining the term “Band-Aids” in Almost Famous to Mark Wahlberg realizing his dream of becoming the lead singer of Steel Dragon in Rock Star, the obsession with and adoration of various famous bands and musicians has been chronicled through many different films. Nick Hamm’s Killing Bono joins their ranks, telling the story of Neil McCormick (Ben Barnes) and his obsession with not just becoming a huge rock star, but doing so on his own terms without the help of his fellow schoolmates who also formed their own band…which happened to then go on and become U2. Neil is a dreamer so fixated on the idea of stardom and all the spoils that come with it that he does not seem to quite grasp what it takes to make that dream a reality. Dressing like David Bowie does not make you him and acting like you already are a rock star does not make you one. It is clear from the start that, although Neil has the passion, it is his brother Ivan (Robert Shehan) who has the talent. Neil launches his first in a series of decisions that sabotage not only his brother, but also himself, by telling Paul (Martin McCann), the lead singer of rival band The Hype, that despite his interest, Ivan would be staying with the family and performing in Neil’s band. This would normally boil down to nothing more than two garage bands fighting for top billing around local clubs in Dublin, but Paul […]

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You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers. It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at editors@filmschoolrejects.com. What movie universe would actually want to live in? Susan C.

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Just over 3,000 films were released in the past ten years. Instead of sleeping, Neil and Cole (with the help of a supercomputer) whittle that list down to the best 1%.

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PirateRadio

Pirate Radio is a perfectly balanced comedy with a brilliant cast. Hard to believe it’s only Richard Curtis’s second film as director.

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movieswelove-almostfamous

This week Josh Radde chimes in with a film that has more heart, more laughs, and better acting than 98% of all films – plus, the soundtrack is kickass. He also exposes his own love for the work of Cameron Crowe.

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What Happened to Kate Hudson

There are certain questions in life one puzzles over furiously. Today, we examine a tricky one by asking what the hell happened to Kate Hudson’s career? Cinema Sleuth is on the case.

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